Sometimes Quitting Can Be Glorious!


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Life’s been a little bit hard of late. We all go through cycles where things get a bit tough and the cogs of life grind very slowly. That’s me at the moment, mainly due to my youngest daughter’s night time shenanigans; but that’s a whole other story.

So at the moment, I’ve been focusing on the basics. Just showing up, really. Making sure my kids show up (hopefully fed, clothed and clean). I also try for this (the clothed one is my priority – obviously). But when you’re sleep deprived for an extended period, anything but the basics is hugely taxing. It doesn’t help that when we returned from our trip I was energised, motivated and ready to go. With lots of plans and goals and six weeks in…well, life had other plans for me.

Fortunately, I recognise that this is just a blip. But there’s nothing like plans that fall by the wayside to leave your morale sagging a bit. I posted recently about the stress of meditation and how I berated myself for not establishing a regular practice.The same goes for all my other little projects. I see the pile of books that I have set aside for research, untouched. A list of ideas that I haven’t been able to develop, which keep popping up each time I open my notebook. Even leisure activities, a pile of magazines unread, webpages tagged and never revisited.

So this week, when I read Sarah Kathleen Peck’s article ‘Why Quitting is ok’ –  I felt vindicated and absolutely light-footed because of it. The article got me thinking about success and failure, but also the cycles that play out in our lives. A full life is a fluid life that weaves in and out of different phases; both good and bad. This is an honest life, lived well. But to berate ones self for this fluidity can be fool-hardy. To be restricted by the success/failure binary is not helpful to anyone, least of all our lovely selves.

So after reading Peck’s article on quitting, I took it one step further and decided that I don’t even need to say ‘I’m quitting’. I’ll just quietly move on if the peaks and troughs of life require it, and when those peaks and troughs permit, I’ll come back to what ever it is I’ve put on pause. That way, there is no pre-determined outcome. I can go back when I feel like it, if I don’t ever feel like going back to said activity, project, goal then so be it. It has served it’s purpose in my life.

Coming back to Arianna Huffington, (as I tend to do) she explained in Thrive that abandoning learning German, learning to ski, or other such extra-curricular activities was freeing to her. Striking it off her agenda meant she could walk away and move on. So finding your own way to let go (including letting go of the angst that comes with letting go) is a significant way to make your every day life a little bit easier, and quite a bit happier.

Lets face it, sometimes life can get hard; just showing up is hard. So letting go of the peripherals that make it hard is just one step towards making it easier.